Penn Arts and Sciences Names Deborah Thomas as Brownlee Term Chair

March 16, 2017

Dean Steven J. Fluharty is pleased to name Deborah Thomas the R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor in Penn Arts and Sciences.

A professor of anthropology, Thomas is a distinguished scholar of political anthropology, globalization, race, and gender. She serves as editor-in-chief of the American Anthropological Association’s flagship journal, American Anthropologist. She has authored and co-produced a number of books and films, including the books Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica and Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica, and the film Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens. Her forthcoming film Four Days in May explores the archives generated by state violence by focusing on the 2010 State of Emergency in West Kingston, Jamaica.

Thomas has served as chair of the Anthropology Graduate Group, as a member of the Penn Arts and Sciences Strategic Plan Committee on Graduate Education, a member of the University Faculty Senate, and a member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Trustees Council of Penn Women.

The R. Jean Brownlee Endowed Term Professorship was established through a gift from the McLean Contributionship under the direction of the late Mr. William L. McLean III and Mrs. McLean. The McLeans established the endowed term chair in recognition of Dr. Brownlee’s years of service to the Contributionship and to Penn and to honor their lifelong friendship with her. Dr. Brownlee earned her doctorate from Penn in political science in 1942 and returned in 1947 as an assistant professor of political science. She was named acting dean of the College for Women in 1958, and dean a year later.